This article was updated on 2/8/2023 for clarity and freshness.
If you’re wondering what to serve with your pork belly, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I list 63 of the most popular side dishes for pork belly.
In a rush? Here’s the short answer.
The best dishes to serve with pork belly are light and acidic options such as broccoli slaw or apple and fennel salad. If you want something rich, try homemade ramen, butternut squash risotto, egg fried rice, or spinach mac and cheese. For some fun side dishes, try bao buns or fruit kabobs.
Great flavor pairings for pork belly
Pork belly is one of the tastiest and most succulent parts of a pig, courtesy of its high fat content. When cooked right, pork belly has a rich, meaty taste that pairs well with a wide range of flavors.
- Sour flavors: Acidic ingredients bring a bright flavor that helps cut through the fattiness of your pork belly. Vinegar and lemon juice are the most accessible ingredients with a sour flavor profile, but you can also pair pork belly with fermented food like sauerkraut and kimchi.
- Sweet flavors: Sweet flavors can also help offset the richness of pork belly. You can try incorporating apples, pineapples, or peaches into your dish. If you’re making a marinade for your pork belly, go with brown sugar or maple syrup.
- Smoky flavors: One of the most common ways to cook pork belly is through grilling or smoking, which infuses its meatiness with an added smoky flavor. You can also achieve this by using smoked paprika or liquid smoke in your marinades and rubs.
Pork belly is a popular dish in several Asian countries and is often served alongside starchy side dishes. Rice is the first thing that comes to mind, but I’ve come up with lots more exciting options.
Quick homemade ramen
This recipe elevates your humble instant ramen by ditching the seasoning packet and making the broth using fresh ingredients.
I was skeptical about this at first but was glad to be proven wrong after I got a taste. The addition of fresh ginger, garlic, and dried mushrooms to regular chicken broth really did the trick in creating a quick but flavorful ramen broth.
Top your jazzed-up ramen with slices of pork belly and indulge in the ultimate comfort meal.
Psst…don’t forget the soft-boiled egg!
If you’re making Chinese-style barbecue pork belly (char siu), having some bao buns on the side is a no-brainer. They’re a classic pairing that everyone loves. But you can also enjoy these fluffy buns with crispy pork belly too.
Stuff the buns with slices of your pork belly, slivers of carrots, cucumber, and cilantro. And add a sauce of your choosing (sriracha mayo is a good option).
Don’t worry if you haven’t made these buns before. They’re very easy to make and only require five ingredients: milk, sugar, all-purpose flour, instant yeast, and water.
Mushroom and scallion rice noodles
You won’t regret serving slices of your crispy pork belly on a bed of these delicious noodles.
It’s a one-pan wonder that only takes 20 minutes to come together, but doesn’t skimp on flavor. The noodles are chock full of umami goodness thanks to the mushrooms and the sweet-but-spicy Asian sauce.
Pssst… Add some bok choy or baby corn if you want extra veggies.
Whether you’re making Korean-style pork belly or the typical fried version, you can’t go wrong serving it alongside kimchi-jeon.
This dish is everything you love about kimchi, but in a crispy pancake form.
Load your kimchi pancake with slices of pork belly for a deliciously satisfying meal. And if you want to go the extra mile, make a gochujang mayo for dipping.
Egg fried rice
Upgrade from plain steamed rice with this egg fried rice. It will transport you right back to your favorite Chinese restaurant.
This takeaway-style egg fried rice recipe doesn’t have any vegetables in it, but I like to add peas and sweetcorn for some color and extra nutrients too.
Pro-tip: make a quick soy vinegar dipping sauce for your crispy pork belly to complete the meal.
If you’re feeling indulgent, go all out and pair your pork belly with these comfort dishes. They’re just as decadent as pork belly, so you’re guaranteed to leave happily full.
Butternut squash risotto
Pork belly is a rich meat, so you either need something light and acidic to pair with it. Or something that can match up to its indulgent flavors.
Butternut squash risotto is the latter. It’s warm and comforting and will leave everyone at the table satisfied.
And don’t be scared about cooking risotto. The key is to keep stirring as the risotto cooks. It’s a bit tiring and tedious, but why not think of it as your arm workout for the day?
Spinach mac and cheese
This classic pasta dish is rich and creamy, with a little nutrient boost from the addition of spinach.
Two Kooks in The Kitchen use frozen spinach for this recipe, but use fresh leaves if you have them (they’re less watery). You’ll need about 4 to 5 cups for a batch of this mac and cheese.
Add some chopped pork belly and you have a warming meal that will put a smile on everyone’s faces. It’s not a common combination, but the crunchy pork belly skin adds a nice contrast to the meal.
Spaghetti aglio e olio
Classic aglio e olio is proof that the best things in life are simple. Unlike other pasta dishes, you only need olive oil, garlic, and pasta water to create the sauce for this dish.
You might think it sounds boring, but it’s far from it. The trio of ingredients infuses the pasta with a savory, garlicky kick that’ll leave you wanting more.
Add a handful of chopped pork belly and you have a showstopper I wouldn’t be surprised to see on a restaurant menu.
Goose fat roast potatoes
Want to turn your pork belly into a Sunday-style roast meal? Serve it with some decadent roast potatoes.
You can roast the spuds with any fat you like, but I prefer following Don’t Go Bacon My Heart’s lead and using goose fat. This ingredient will give your potatoes ultra-crispy, golden exteriors while keeping the insides fluffy. Plus it will complement the similarly fatty pork belly.
Serve the whole thing with some pickles on the side to make sure it doesn’t end up being too rich.
Fresh salads are the best accompaniment for a main dish as rich as pork belly. The combination of crisp greens and a zesty vinaigrette is exactly what you need to cut through the pork belly’s greasiness.
Baby arugula and strawberry salad
This vibrant salad is a great summer accompaniment to a fatty dish like crackling pork belly.
It features peppery arugula, sweet-tart strawberries, and sharp onions tossed in a zippy Dijon vinaigrette, giving you the ideal balance of flavors.
Caroline also adds feta to the mix for a burst of saltiness, but I usually skip this because I find the pork belly is already salty enough for me. You can also play around with other kinds of cheese like goat’s cheese or mozzarella.
Apple and fennel salad
There’s no greater pair than apple and pork belly. The acidity of the apple cuts through the rich pork brilliantly.
The apple normally comes in the form of an apple sauce. But an apple salad is a lighter, healthier alternative.
You can serve this salad on the side, or mix the pork belly into it — the choice is yours.
Thai green papaya salad
Take culinary inspiration from Thailand and serve your pork belly with this delicious salad.
It’s delightfully crunchy and it boasts the perfect blend of sweet, sour, and spicy notes – exactly what you need as a palate cleanser in between bites of pork belly.
Wondering where to find green papaya? You should be able to buy it in your local Asian market, but you can also make this recipe with green mango, apple, or carrot if you can’t find green papaya.
Pork belly isn’t the healthiest main dish, so serving it with a side of veggies is a great idea. Not only are you introducing more vitamins and nutrients, but these veggie sides provide a light contrast to the pork.
Pork belly pairs superbly with mashed potatoes, but you can also try mashed cauliflower if you want to shave a few calories off your meal.
It’s still got a lovely creaminess that pairs well with the pork.
And a good tip to avoid the dreaded watery mash is to heat the cauliflowers as you mash them. This step allows all the excess water to evaporate, leaving you with a fluffy mash.
Stir-fried pea shoots
Complete your dinner spread by whipping up a batch of these stir-fried pea shoots. These leafy greens have a naturally sweet taste that goes nicely with your pork belly’s richness.
The shoots are flash-fried in garlic oil at high heat, so you need to keep a close eye on them to prevent overcooking.
Psst… and if you can’t find pea shoots, baby spinach is a good substitute.
Bok choy and shiitake stir fry
Make your pork belly shine with a serving of this stir fry on the side.
The subtle earthy flavors mesh well with the pork belly without overwhelming it. Plus, the slight crunch from the bok choy is a welcome contrast to your pork belly’s tender meat.
The key to perfecting this dish lies in the cooking time. Scruff recommends cooking the dish about 90% through, then taking it off the stove. The residual heat will continue cooking the bok choy without making it soggy.
Add a refreshing splash of pink to your pork belly with this pickled radish.
It’s a no-cook side dish that only takes 10 minutes of hands-on prep. But you do need to let the radish slices sit in the pickling juice for an hour so they can develop their signature tangy flavor.
This lip-puckering bite is ideal for cleaning your palate of the fatty pork belly.
Pork belly is also a popular main dish for cookouts, so it’s no surprise it goes well with your favorite barbecue side dishes. Enjoy these goodies as you wait for your pork belly to finish smoking or as a side for a super satisfying meal.
Broccoli honeycrisp slaw
Add a fresh bite to your pork belly dish with a serving of this special slaw.
You won’t see any cabbages or carrots in this – but don’t worry. It’s still crisp and refreshing, and you get some sweetness from the apples and dried currants. Then everything is tied together with a creamy, tangy dressing.
Psst… this broccoli slaw keeps well in the fridge, so you can make it in advance.
Warm German potato salad
Getting bored with creamy potato salads?
Set aside the classics and try this warm potato salad. Instead of the usual mayo, its dressing is made with bacon grease, vinegar, and mustard, giving it a tangy, savory punch.
And the smokey bacon ties the dish together with its pork belly cousin.
Make your next potluck more interesting with this warm German potato salad.
Pineapple and watermelon skewers
Looking for a fun side dish for your pork belly? These pineapple and watermelon kabobs are what you need.
They’re unique and bring loads of color to the mix.
They don’t fall short on flavor either. The sweet, citrusy notes from the fruit will balance the rich, salty flavors of the pork without weighing the dish down.
Grilled Mexican street corn
Corn on the cob is a staple in any cookout, but why not take inspiration from Mexican cuisine to switch things up?
Elotes, also known as Mexican street corn, feature grilled cobs that are smothered with a mayo, sour cream, and cotija cheese mixture and then coated with more cheese plus a dash of chili powder.
They’re delightfully zesty and smoky, with a bit of kick in every bite.
Pro-tip: brush the corn with oil or melted butter before grilling to prevent them from drying out.
Biscoff icebox cake
This icebox cake is my go-to for cookouts and barbecue parties when I need to impress, but don’t want to go through the hassle of baking a cake or pie.
It’s such a breeze to make, and there are literally only four ingredients: heavy cream, sugar, Biscoff spread, and Biscoff cookies.
You’ll probably be full from the pork belly and all the other cookout dishes, but make sure to leave room for this tasty dessert!
What To Serve With Pork Belly [63 Ideas]
- 1 portion quick homemade ramen
- 1 portion warm german potato salad
- 1 portion quick pickled radish
- 1 portion goose fat roast potatoes
- 1 portion mashed cauliflower
- 1 portion broccoli honeycrisp slaw
- … and more
- Prepare your pork belly according to your favorite recipe.
- In the meantime, choose one of the following sides to serve alongside it.
- Side dishes include: quick homemade ramen, bao buns, broccoli honeycrisp slaw, mashed cauliflower, warm german potato salad, baby arugula and strawberry salad, mushroom and scallion rice noodles, kimchi-jeon, spinach mac and cheese, apple and fennel salad, egg fried rice, stir-fried pea shoots, Thai green papaya salad, pineapple and watermelon skewers, pan-seared cod in tomato sauce, spaghetti aglio e olio, goose fat roast potatoes, bok choy and shiitake stir fry, quick-pickled radish, butternut squash risotto, and celeriac puree.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!